2024 NHL Draft Prospect Profile: Cayden Lindstrom

Photo: Larry Brunt

The Scouting Report:

Cayden Lindstrom from Chetwynd, British Columbia, born on February 3rd, 2006, is a top available prospect in the 2024 NHL Entry Draft. His size and strength are the most attractive points of his game, and his work ethic makes him one of the most lucrative centers available in this year’s draft.

Lindstrom spent his 2023-24 season with the Medicine Hat Tigers of the WHL. Although his season was shortened due to injury, he proved he’s still an impressive prospect despite missing half the season. The 6-foot-3, 210-pound, left-shot center has the tools to be an impressive and dominant two-way forward who excels in all physical aspects of the game.

Ranked #4 by Inside The Rink
Ranked #3 by NHL Central Scouting (NA Skaters)
Ranked #9 by TSN/Craig Button
Ranked #11 by Sportsnet/Sam Cosentino
Ranked #5 by TSN/Bob McKenzie
Ranked #6 by Recruit Scouting
Ranked #4 by Smaht Scouting

Conrad Jack of Inside The Rink has Cayden Lindstrom projected at 4th overall.

I’ve highlighted some of Cayden Lindstrom’s attributes, let’s take a deeper dive into his attributes and areas for improvement.

Diving Deeper:

While Cayden Lindstrom is mostly known for his size and strength, I want to dive deeper into some other stronger points of his game which helps him stand out as a top prospect in this draft.

Makes Use of Physical Game

Lindstrom’s vision on the ice is unmatched. He towers over most opponents and has a strong offensive awareness combined with unmatched strength. Had he played a full season with the Medicine Hat Tigers, he could’ve been a candidate in the top three easily. Although, 46 points (26G, 20A) in 32 games is an impressive statline nonetheless.

While Lindstrom doesn’t make the physical part of his game his main attraction, it certainly stands out as such. He remained out with an upper-body injury, but that was no concern when he was inserted back into the Tigers’ lineup and played like he missed no time. His competitiveness allows him to use his strong forechecking and battling along the boards, and it almost always results in him winning the puck.

As Lindstrom finds his footing, he also doesn’t mind laying a hit or two without the puck. He will make a big open ice hit and it lets his opponents know who he is and where he is. With his strength combined with all of this, he is incredibly hard to knock off the puck. He is present physically and statistically and NHL scouts will be certainly making note of this when considering when and where he will be drafted.

“Lindstrom has been dominant at the junior level because he knows how to use his 6-foot-4 frame to protect pucks, win battles, and play through contact in the harder areas of the ice. His physical tools combined with his skating make him a nightmare to deal with off the rush, very similar to Quinton Byfield during his draft year.”

Rachel Doerrie – ESPN – April 2nd, 2024

Strong Two-Way Mind

Having a strong shot and release is an asset for a lot of NHL teams. Developing the next lethal goal scorer that teams will struggle to defend for the next 15 years is the goal when looking at players like Cole Eiserman or Cayden Lindstrom. The two players have incredible shots, but Lindstrom has a stronger game overall.

Whenever Lindstrom is in the offensive zone, he does whatever it takes to get his way into prime scoring areas and will crash the crease for the secondary scoring opportunities. Whenever he chooses to stick back in the play, he has a cannon of a shot and a quick release that you will miss if you blink. Sometimes, he does force plays due to his fast pace, which causes problems. Although his recovery is quick and he is always looking ahead of the play.

What makes Lindstrom an even scarier player is he’s incredibly strong defensively. He’s just as effective as his strengths allow him to be one of the first people backchecking, breaking up plays and regaining puck possession to transition the play into the neutral and/or offensive zones. While he didn’t spend much time on the Tigers’ penalty kill unit, he was a power play specialist, but his experience as a strong two-way forward could see him become a jack of all trades for any team looking to draft him.

“The 18-year-old projects to be a power forward with a booming shot. He also can pass the puck with accuracy and is hard in the tough areas of the ice. Every scout I’ve spoken with thinks highly of Lindstrom despite the time he’s missed.”

Mike Morreale – NHL.com – March 1st, 2024

Strong Skating

The biggest complimentary piece to Lindstrom’s game is his skating. A lot of scouts project his skating to be one of the best in this year’s draft class with room for improvement. He has the speed and can turn on the jets to jump up in the play which can be incredibly tough for other teams.

Heading into his draft year, Lindstrom improved his skating and became far more agile which makes you wonder how hard he trains during the off-season and if he was able to continue training during his injury recovery. Lindstrom is one of the most exciting prospects in years that didn’t get the media coverage he should’ve.

He’s dangerous from anywhere on the ice and has every possible tool to become a physically dominant two-way power forward. Given his progression in more than three aspects of his game in a short span, Lindstrom has gathered a lot of positive attention and raised his draft stock by a lot.

“He can overpower guys. He passes the puck like a pro and he’s hard to play against. He’s even a better person. He can take criticism. He smiles. He’s excited to be at the rink. He knows where he wants to go, and he’s driven to his goals.”

Willie Desjardins – Medicine Hat Tigers Head Coach

On-Ice Abilities:

Given he is one of the more physically capable two-way forwards in this draft, he can become one of the strongest players to come out of this draft. He overpowers guys like it is second nature, he passes the puck like a professional and always works to be his best. His coaches have mentioned that he loves constructive criticism, and he’s always ready and excited to be on the ice.

Cayden Lindstrom has set clear-cut goals and expectations for himself. He’s driven, he knows where he wants to go, and this is all translating at the right time to his game. He possesses a lot of qualities that teams can use immediately, and he controls the pace of the game and can dominate all zones on the ice.

Prospect Potential:

Cayden Lindstrom shows all of the right signs that he can become an NHL regular sooner rather than later. He has too many strong qualities that teams can inject into their lineup, and his role can be bigger than originally anticipated. There’s a high ceiling for Lindstrom, and he will certainly be a first-line or, at worst, a second-line center for any up-and-coming team.

Realistically, I can expect Lindstrom to be a 70-75 point player and an NHL first-line regular. While he’s projected as low 12th by Draft Prospects Hockey, he won’t be falling that low. Any team getting Lindstrom lower than 6th overall is getting one of the best available players in this year’s draft.

Best Potential Fit:

With projections as high as third and as low as 12th overall, here are a few teams I can see picking up Lindstrom.

Chicago Blackhawks: The Chicago Blackhawks have a strong young core, adding Lindstrom at second overall, a two-way power forward who will fight for that first-line centre spot adds competition and impressive depth to the rebuilding Blackhawks.
Utah NHL Team: What better team than sixth overall and a recently relocated franchise to pick up one of the most NHL-ready players in this year’s draft? Lindstrom could shine brightly in Utah and be a great first-draft selection in Utah’s history.
Ottawa Senators: The Senators have a bright young core, adding a highly touted and likely NHL-ready two-way power forward at seventh overall into that lineup could really inject some strong sense of confidence into the team.
Seattle Kraken: The Kraken are likely looking to add a player like Eiserman or Lindstrom with the eighth overall pick. If Eiserman is off the board, I’m fully expecting them to draft Lindstrom should he fall to eighth overall.
New Jersey Devils: Should Lindstrom fall to 10th overall, it should be a no-brainer for the Devils to pick him up and add to an already powerful young core. The Devils are destined for success, especially under a new head coach, and this could be a great fit for both teams.

Final Thoughts:

Cayden Lindstrom is going to be in the NHL within the next three years, maybe sooner. He has all the tools currently in place to make the jump from the WHL to the NHL right away and there’s a lot of praise for him. Having Lindstrom, a strong two-way power forward can set a team up for a really bright future when his entire projection can translate to the NHL and he fully develops.

Stats via Elite Prospects
Highlights via MyNHLDraft.com

We Got The Jack Inside The Rink

In episode 8 of the Inside The Rink podcast, Matty and Smitty are joined by new co-host Conrad Jack. After the long hiatus, we get back to hockey with a PACKED episode!Matt Rempe & the Devils vs. Rangers Line BrawlCould the Vancouver Canucks squander a playoff opportunity? Have the Winnipeg Jets finally figured out their lines?Flyers Head Coach John Tortorella is a sound byte MACHINEOvechkin is on his way to 895, Who is next?McDavid joins elite company with 100 Assists in a seasonRyan Hartman was suspended 3 Games, was it worth 3 games??Can Auston Matthews hit 70 Goals this season?The Eastern Conference Wild Card race is heating up, who lands the two playoff berths?For all of your hockey news and more from the show, visit us at insidetherink.com and watch us on YouTube! How to support us and our sponsors:TicketmasterColumbia Sports ApparelESPN+ SubscriptionFanaticsDraft Kings – CODE ITR
  1. We Got The Jack
  2. Episode 7. Player Safety First!
  3. Episode 6. Early Trade Season
  4. Episode 5. Longing For The Chiarelli Years
  5. Episode 4. Ottawa’s On Fire

Conrad Jack

Conrad Jack is a lifelong hockey fan who is now actively writing for Inside The Rink covering primarily the Winnipeg Jets and the entire NHL second. He also covers the latest NHL News & Rumors, the NHL Entry Draft, and so much more for Inside The Rink.

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